Dear Uncle Elmer,
A while ago you wrote you were going to print a teen-age page. I have read a few boys' letters with interest, so I thought I should write too.
I don't have any engines, except a small upright, which Dad got for us boys once. It's a Weeden, with about a 3/8' bore by ?' stroke (no reverse valve). It is fired by alcohol and runs fine.
I would like to build a small working model some day. I have a list of things which it takes to make one from a bicycle pump. I got it and some interesting information from the Encyclopedia.
Although I'm only 16, I have that old-fashioned steam fever in my blood already.
My Dad has a 21-75 Baker, No. 17787, a good 28 x 46 John Deere steel thresher, an 8 roll Rosenthal husker, a Gehl silo filler and a Corley 440 sawmill, all in good mechanical condition. So reading the interesting ALBUM isn't all history to us.
I have had a few successful try's at firing our engine. At threshing time, my job usually is water boy and tea motor (bundle wagon).
In 1957, I got a $3.00 prize for an engine drawing contest at L. Blaker's. I have had quite a lot of practice on the sawmill. My job is running the set works.
If anybody comes our way
Some hot summer day,
Come in and have a look
Of threshing the steam-era way,
It's better than reading a book.
It's more like a well spent day.
(That's one of my own poems.)
Well, I don't know if you'll print all of this,
but at least please encourage more boys to write on their favorite hobby. We all have one.
Your coal-shoveling nephew, JOHN L. STUTZMAN
The tractor on page 32 of the January-February 1960 issue of the IRON-MEN ALBUM is a 1912 or 13 Fairbanks Morse 15-25 hp, 1 cyl., oil-tractor which belongs to William Tichenor, Charleston, Illinois. This information was sent in by T. H. KRUEGER 1615 San Francisco St. San Antonio 1, Texas
At the time this picture was taken, I was firing and am on the driver. Hank Donner was the engineer and a good one, too. He is at the steering wheel. Hank still lives at Reeder, N. Dakota. My brother, John, is sitting on the coal box but is hard to see. The tankie was August Bilges who is now living at Bruno, Minnesota.
This is a 10-bottom John Deere plow and we are pulling a 24 foot drag. This engine broke up a lot of the prairie in this country. Brother Frank ran it in 1909, 1910 and 1911. I hauled water in 1910 and 1911, fired in 1912 and ran it in the falls of 1913 and 1914 while threshing. Brother Frank ran it while plowing and threshing in 1915 and that was the last year it ran. Frank died with the flu in 1918. Brother John died in 1955. Mike lives in North Dakota.
This is a picture of a Northwest 35 horse cross-compound steam engine which was bought new in 1908, the same year the Milwaukee railroad came through this country. The picture was taken in 1913 plowing in a stubble field 18 miles north of Scran ton, North Dakota. The country was very new at that time as most of the homesteaders came out here in 1906. This engine was owned by Pierce Brothers of Pierce, North Dakota, a little inland town that was named after my brothers Mike, John and Frank, and sister, Mary, who homesteaded in 1906. I wasn't old enough to take a homestead at that time but came out in the fall of 1910.
When this engine first came out it had twelve plows, four groups of three in a gang, one after the other pulled by rods, the back ones being a long way back. Each one of these gangs had to be thrown out of the ground separately and there was no platform. Some job! I'm thankful I never was the plowman. Of course most of the fields were a mile long. This engine traveled around three miles per hour. This John Deere 10-bottom plow in the picture was bought in 1912, some different from the first ones.
My brothers did not buy this outfit outright. Brother Mike and a man by the name of Jim Joyce signed up with the fellow who bought it and he was supposed to break a certain number of acres for them. In 1909 my brothers took it over. I figure it broke and plowed between 7000 and 8000 acres. It required a lot of hard work to keep it up. It had stub axles and had to be reshimmed after each season's work. As my brother, John, said, 'If we had only had a Reeves.'
Hank Donner ran this engine 1912 spring breaking plowing. I fired in the spring, hauled water that fall as burnt coal and Hank did his own firing. The Northwest was too hard a steamer to burn straw unless it was flax straw. Hank Donner is a cop at Reeder, North Dakota, about 30 miles from where I live. I often stop and Hank and I have coffee together -- and you old engine men know we go over the good old days of 48 years ago breaking, threshing and plowing.
This engine did a lot of threshing, a No. 1 Threshing engine. My brothers had a 40-72 Minneapolis threshing machine and in the big runs of 1909 to 1915 we always had twelve to fourteen bundle teams with four men pitching in. While threshing oats in 1912 we were running through 15 bu. per minute for a time but they were probably pitching in the bundles extra fast at that time. I figure we averaged 12 bu. per minute. A 40-72 rear, in plain words, 6 ft. could really handle grain.
I bought a Reeves in 1917 and will have a story on that later.
CHARLEY PIERCE Scranton, North Dakota
How do I know that my youth is all spent? Well, my 'get up and go' has got up and went!
But, in spits of it all, I'm able to grin When I think of where my 'get up' has been.
Old age is golden, so I've heard said, But sometimes I wonder, as I get into bed With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup, My eyes on the table, until I wake up.
As sleep dims my eyes, I say to myself, 'Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?' And I'm happy to say, as I close my door, 'My friends are the same, perhaps even more.'
When I was young, my slippers were red, I could kick up my heels right over my head; When I grew older, my slippers were blue
But still, I could dance the whole night through.
Now, I am old: my slippers are black If I walk to the store, I puff my way back. The reason I know my youth is all spent, My 'get up and go' has got up and went.
But I don't really mind, when I think with a grin Of all the grand places my 'get up' has been. Since I've retired from life's competition, I busy myself with complete repetition.
I get up each morning- dust off my wits, Pick up the paper, and read the 'Obits ', If my name is missing, I know I'm not dead! So I eat a good breakfast - and go back to bed.
- Author Unknown
Submitted by MRS. A. PRESTON GRAY 3501 Bristol Highway King sport, Tennessee
Let me say that the cover of the May-June issue of the ALBUM is very attractive and I liked it very much.
Since my very good friend, Raymond Laizure has offered a suggestion for that Aultman-Taylor engine out of the mountain, may I offer another suggestion.
The Air Force is always looking for publicity -- why not ask them to use one of their helicopters to lift it out. This would not be difficult since they lift ten and twelve ton tanks and carry them some distance. Furthermore, this would be a peaceful means and would not necessitate a fight.
LORIN E. BIXLER, 156 West High Street New Concord, Ohio
Those who remember or have read widely have learned about the habits and customs of many of the old Thresher men. Many of them had a way of life that brings more peace and soul satisfaction than we of a more modern world possess. When these pioneers were driven too hard over a period of time, many of them would sit down. No threats or coaxing would make them move on to their appointed tasks. They would say, 'We must rest awhile and let our Souls catch up.' Retirement should be like that, because most of us who have been rushed in this mad pace of modern life need this pause that refreshes the soul more than anything else.
Since I was a small boy I have always looked forward to that time when I could pause and/or slow down. Why not bank the fires a little and get a true vision of the time spoken of as the 'golden years'? A time to thank God for his constant care, a time to look about, a time to feed the soul. Take a little time to be thankful, most of us have much to be thankful for; a little time for that inward satisfaction feeling. This does not mean that we should be satisfied with our lives in relation to God or our relations with others. There is much to be done to be in harmony with life.
It seems to me that after spending our youth in preparation for life, then long years of doing our best to serve in our various capacities to make our later years a little more secure, we should take time to do those little things we have missed doing in these days of tension and haste -- time to be kind, to visit with old friends, and help encourage those who are in trouble.
This does not mean that we should head for the old rocking chair, but only that we should slow down and enjoy some of the things about us. I don't know of a better place to slow down, let our soul catch up, to realize many things we should be thankful for, to look into the golden years, and visit with old friends, get that inward satisfaction feeling, than by attending some of the many STEAM ENGINE AND THRESHER MAN REUNIONS of 1960.
THE PIONEER HARVEST FIESTA WILL BE HELD at the Burbon County Fairgrounds located in the city of Fort Scott, Kansas, October 7, 8 & 9, 1960.
GEORGE R. JACKSON 810 S. Judson Fort Scott, Kansas
On page 11 at the top of the March April issue 1960, I would guess it to be a Port Huron. It certainly has a Port Huron rear wheel on it anyway.
ELVIN WORTHINGTON, R.D. 1, Orient, Ohio